By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Blake Whitt, a former Lee County schools substitute teacher, faces federal and state charges allegedly with a minor female.
The federal charge claims he exploited a minor and coerced or enticed a female for sex.
He also was indicted on sexual battery charges in Lee County.
Whitt, 24, of Tupelo, is due for trial June 10 before Chief U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills in Oxford.
Indicted Jan. 23, Whitt appeared before the court April 17 and pleaded not guilty. His indictment was not made public until then.
He posted $1,500 for a $15,000 bond and is free until the next proceedings.
If convicted on both charges, he faces up to life in prison and $500,000 in fines.
Whitt also faces three sexual battery counts in a Lee County grand jury indictment and was terminated as a substitute teacher after the charges became public.
The charges claim he had sex three times with the same female, under the age of 16 when the alleged acts occurred in 2012.
He is free on $15,000 state bond after a January hearing before Lee Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland.
White pleaded not guilty to those charges when he was arraigned recently.
It’s not clear if the federal and state charges are related.
In the federal indictment, he is accused of enticing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct to produce “visual depictions” for interstate transport, which could mean the Internet.
The second count claims he used his cellphone to entice a 15-year-old to have sex with him, which would be statutory rape and sexual battery if he were prosecuted under Mississippi law. It also allegedly constitutes creation of child pornography under U.S. law, the document states.
In the state case, Sheriff Jim Johnson told Holland the case was brought to his department’s attention by a minor female’s parents.